*Parts of In the Garden of Stone first appeared in literary journals and anthologies.
From “The Stranger Room,” Serving House Journal
…Sadie first met Dean Sypher in June of 1963, the year the mines closed, and the operators who’d bought up farms in the valley below Wilderness Road left behind their houses filled with furniture, their barns locked up with the livestock still inside. When Dean wasn’t managing his mother’s property, he worked for the veterinarian who lived down the hill from the Sypher house, going out at night on large farm animal emergencies, looking after the abandoned animals. At seventeen, Sadie worked as a hired girl for Dean’s widowed mother, Emma, cleaning and cooking in exchange for piano lessons. She thought the worst veterinary cases were the horses. Unable to afford the feed, the operators set free their thoroughbreds before leaving. Arabians roamed, half feral with hunger, nuzzling bitter acorns dwindling in the woods at the edge of the Sypher’s sloping pasture, some of them dying, some going unborn….
From “The Passage,” , story, Contemporary World Literature
…The spring after her older daughter died, Jane Musick took her younger daughter, Sadie, up to Wilderness Road and told her it was time to learn how to stay alive in the woods. Jane began her lesson at the old game trail marked by an oak growing sideways to a scarred bend, curving up, its top branches rising into the sky. Sadie was twelve, old enough to guess the tree had been struck by lightening, but its shape called to mind a swaybacked horse with a long nose. She mounted the tree’s back, sitting sidesaddle, listening to her mother explain that the bent oak was a language tree, meant to guide passing travelers toward water, game, safety…
From “Ostriches,” , story, RUDUX, (this story originally appeared in New Letters)
…The dark hours. Dreaming, Sadie stands on her front porch in a hurricane, her bra flying out of her hands, rising into the dark arms of hemlock that shred its lace and batting. She wakes, reaches into her cotton night gown, touches the cyst curled above the jagged scar across her chest. In the mirror at the foot of her bed, her face is haloed by fine, white hair, her skin clear as lilies from all the radiation treatments. Outside the window, telephone wires twist into the hemlock, and the blue mountain ridge hulks against the red-streaked November sky. She glances back to the telephone on the bed stand, thinking, I cannot tell this over the phone….